Sunday, October 29, 2006

That's My Kind of Award

Just found about the Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup, a literary prize I could really get behind:

"The prize, not given every year, is awarded for a work of fiction or body of work which, in the opinion of the committee, best celebrates the spirit of author Jack Trevor Story, who died in [1991]. In addition to the cup, the award includes a $1,000 prize, with the stipulation that the money must be spent within a week to a fortnight, with nothing to show for it at the end. "

--LOCUS, September 2006, p. 78.

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How to Have a Million Copies in Print without a Publisher

"In April 2006, On Demand books launched a beta version of their new Espresso Book Machine, which can print a paperback book, complete with laminated color cover, in minutes. The device -- a print-on-demand vending machine -- looks like a large copier, and can produce 15-20 paperbacks per hour. It was tested at the World Bank InfoShop in Washington DC, with other installations planned at the New York Public Library and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. Commercial production is expected to begin later this year, and the creators hope the machines will someday be ubiquitous, with readers swiping their ATM cards and printing any of thousands of digitized titles."

--from LOCUS, September 2006, p. 77

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What Knowledge Workers Don't Know

Check out this eloquent piece in The New Atlantis that decries the move to eliminate shop class from American secondary schools -- and, indeed, an apparent trend away from educating ourselves in how things work. Don't buy it? Then consider this:

"While manufacturing jobs have certainly left our shores to a disturbing degree, the manual trades have not. If you need a deck built, or your car fixed, the Chinese are of no help. Because they are in China."

Working as I do with juvenile delinquents, I can attest to the fact that many of them are not auditory or visual learners. They learn with their hands: by doing. They'd do great at manual trades, but this opportunity to engage their minds (and no matter what anyone says, manual labor is also mental) and to make a good living is increasingly denied them.

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